Protecting Product Integrity
The Fair Trade Gems® policy mandates a strict chain of custody, thereby protecting the product integrity of every gemstone produced. Columbia Gem House carefully controls and documents each link in the gemstone supply chain and examines their products at every step. Careful control means they can guarantee the quality and product integrity of every gem they sell. The company knows where it was mined, how it was cut, and whether it was enhanced in any way. They also makes sure that no synthetics or simulants have been mixed in with their natural gemstones.
Columbia Gem House also tests random rough gemstone samples.
“Testing is especially important for quartz, since many parcels on the market are salted with synthetics,” Braunwart says. “Even though we trust everyone we work with and only buy rough, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to secure our supply. None of our quartz has ever tested as synthetic.”
Full Disclosure Helps With Product Integrity
Many gemstone varieties are enhanced in ways that may not be detectable, like heating them to improve color. Ruby and sapphire, for example, are generally heated to reach their maximum potential. Gemstone dealers can’t always detect enhancements, so they must assume gems have been enhanced unless they can prove otherwise. Ethical dealers will disclose this information to their customers who should pass the information along to consumers.
Because Columbia Gem House has control of a gem from the mine to finished jewelry, they can guarantee they are providing complete and accurate disclosure.
“We know there is no chance of undisclosed treatments or synthetics slipping through the cracks.” states Eric, “Often we can guarantee that a gem is natural and untreated.”